Michael Reth, ’02, ’04, chief executive officer of Axiom Product Administration, and Sergey Abrosimov, ’06, chief technology officer, are riding the success that comes from creating a company that disrupts traditional and outdated business practices.
Axiom, which provides financial administration for auto dealerships, started in 2013 with three employees working on folding tables in Reth’s garage. Today, Axiom employs nearly 50 individuals across two countries. Revenue has increased exponentially, with Axiom growing from only five dealership clients in 2013 to more than 600 dealer relationships in 2019. The company was named the fastest-growing private company by the St. Louis Business Journal in 2018, and was recently ranked No. 72 on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500.
“A lot of consumers leave a car dealership with a $35,000 car loan and $4,000 worth of protection products all folded up in a 50-cent white paper envelope with a dealership logo printed on front,” Reth said. “We digitally transformed that paper envelope process and put control and ownership of that paperwork into a digital engagement platform. By doing that, the consumer is now automatically communicating with their dealership in a modern way, just like consumers interact with companies like Target or Amazon.”
The original idea for Axiom grew out of Reth’s capstone thesis while he was earning his MBA through the John E. Simon School of Business. Reth was pursuing his degree through Maryville’s Weekend and Evening College (now the School of Adult and Online Education) while working full-time alongside Abrosimov at an insurance company in nearby Maryville Centre. Thanks to Reth’s urging, Abrosimov earned the same degree at Maryville. Years later, Reth put his earlier ideas into action by creating Axiom. He brought Abrosimov in as a consultant for his expertise in technology, before inviting him to join the senior executive team.
Reth was largely inspired to create Axiom thanks to the influence of one of his Maryville professors: Maha Alul. “Alul was a single mother to three children and started one business after another,” Reth said. “She was so committed, driven, strong and confident, but she would also share the challenges she faced. Her entrepreneurial leadership laid the foundation for where I am today. She made me think about going beyond a traditional business career working for someone else, and that was the origin spark for me to start my own business.”
In honor of their achievements, Reth and Abrosimov were among the 2018 Spirit of Maryville award winners, receiving the John E. Simon School of Business Dean’s Award. Reth and Abrosimov have also returned to the Maryville campus to speak with School of Business students and are in the process of creating software development internships for Maryville’s cybersecurity students.
For others interested in pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams, Reth shares one piece of advice: “Find what you are passionate about and chase that. My greatest achievement is taking an idea from a whiteboard and turning into something that is shaking up an established industry. It all came from my Maryville experiences and the encouragement to go out and do something different.”